(out of 5)
Intelligent, thorough documentary that covers the career of German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the wunderkind who made over 40 short and feature films for cinema and television in sixteen years before burning out and dying of a drug overdose at the age of 37. Hans Gunther Plfaum’s film is a wonderful chronicle of Fassbinder’s life and work, gleaning intuitive information from friends, relatives and colleagues, among the best of them actresses Hanna Schygulla and Andréa Ferréol, and Fassbinder’s own mother Lilo Pempeit, who appeared in a number of his films. What this documentary does to even greater satisfaction, though, is give terrific examples of Fassbinder’s films that detail why he made a splash in his day and is so well remembered: generous helpings of footage from films like Effi Briest, Katzelmacher, Ali: Fear Eats The Soul, The Marriage Of Maria Braun, Veronika Voss and more are great to see, though curiously the film leaves out the Berlin Alexanderplatz series and, most interestingly, Fassbinder’s last film Querelle. Even non-fans of the director’s erratic oeuvre will find much to enjoy here.
Directed by Hans Gunther Pflaum
Screenplay by Hans Gunther Pflaum
Produced by Theo Hinz
Film Editing by Ingrid Wolff